To end the standoff, Nir David has backed developing a new leisure area outside the kibbutz or extending the Asi’s flow toward Beit Shean. But the Free the Asi leaders said that could set a precedent for the privatization of natural resources.

Perah Hadad, 36, a campaign leader from Beit Shean, said the relationship with Nir David had always been one of “us on the outside and them inside.”

Ms. Hadad, a political science student, argues that part of the kibbutz could be opened to the public with fixed hours and prohibitions on barbecues and loud music.

“After all,” she said, “there are not that many streams like this in Israel.”

The flotilla led by Mr. Vaknin took place on Mimouna, a North African Jewish holiday marking the end of Passover.

Mr. Vaknin, 30, an information systems analyst, had organized a noisy and festive demonstration that began outside the kibbutz gate, complete with a D.J. and piles of mufletot, Mimouna pancakes dripping with honey.

“Open your gates and open your hearts!” Mr. Vaknin shouted, inviting kibbutz residents to join the party.

An eclectic mix of about two dozen people turned up to protest.

While the kibbutz offers the most practical entry into the Asi, it is possible to reach the water where the stream meets the irrigation channel. But that way involves several hazards, including clambering down a steep incline off a busy road and the possibility that sharp rocks in this untamed part of the stream would tear a raft.

Despite those obstacles, the protesters moved from the kibbutz down the road to launch their flotilla from that unblocked spot and later disembarked near the kibbutz cemetery. Children swam and chased ducks as grim-faced security guards looked on, filming on their cellphones.

The wet interlopers then sauntered off into the heart of the kibbutz. Nobody stopped them, and they posed for victory photos on the manicured bank of the Asi.

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Before Rage Flared, a Push to Make Israel’s Mixed Towns More Jewish

LOD, Israel — Years before the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Lod erupted in mob violence, a demographic shift had begun to take root: Hundreds of young Jews who support a religious, nationalist movement started to move into a mostly Arab neighborhood with the express aim of strengthening the Israeli city’s Jewish identity.

A similar change was playing out in other mixed Arab-Jewish cities inside Israel, such as nearby Ramla and Acre in the north — part of a loosely organized nationwide project known as Torah Nucleus. They say that their intention is to uplift poor and neglected areas on the margins of society, particularly in mixed cities, and to enrich Jewish life there. Its supporters have moved into dozens of Israeli cities and towns.

“Perhaps ours is a complex message,” said Avi Rokach, 43, chairman of the Torah Nucleus association in Lod. “Lod is a Jewish city. It is our agenda and our religious duty to look out for whoever lives here, be they Jewish, Muslim or Hindu.”

abruptly exposed.

In Lod, hundreds of the city’s Arab citizens took to the streets, throwing stones, burning cars and setting fire to properties, venting their rage against one primary target: The mostly young, Orthodox Jewish families who had arrived in recent years, saying they wanted to lift up the working-class city and make it more Jewish.

organized on social networks and sought out Arab victims in Lod and other cities, beating an Arab man almost to death in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam.

Lod, which traces its history to the days of Canaan and is known as Lydda in Arabic, has a particularly fraught history centered around the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Most of the original Palestinian residents of the city were expelled and never allowed to return.

Bedouins — the seminomadic Arabs from Israel’s Negev desert — arrived in the following decades as did families of Palestinians from the West Bank who had collaborated with Israel, seeking refuge.

to tone down the volume on the Muslim call to prayer from minarets in the city and his right-hand man is a founder of Lod’s Torah Nucleus.

Arab resentment is compounded by a lingering fear of displacement, house by house.

About eight years ago, Torah Nucleus built a pre-army academy and a religious boys’ elementary school next to the long-established school for Arab pupils on Exodus Street in the heart of Ramat Eshkol.

These Jewish institutions were the first to be set on fire on May 10. The trouble started after evening prayers, witnesses said. Arab youths raised a Palestinian flag in the square and demonstrated in solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem and Gaza. The police dispersed them with tear gas and stun grenades.

Angry Arab mobs then went on a rampage, burning synagogues, Jewish apartments and cars in Ramat Eshkol. One group approached another Torah Nucleus neighborhood, where a Jewish crowd had gathered.

There, the four Jewish suspects in the shooting claimed, they fired in the air in self-defense as Arab rioters began to rush at them, throwing stones and firebombs, according to court documents.

The funeral for the victim, Mr. Hassouna, the next day devolved into new clashes as the mourners, the building contractor Mr. Salama among them, insisted on passing through Exodus Street with the body in defiance of police instructions.

That night, gangs of Jewish extremists, some of them armed, came from out of town to attack Arabs and their property, according to witnesses. Mr. Salama said he was hit by a stone while sitting in his garden. Gunshots were heard on both sides.

One Jewish apartment in Ramat Eshkol was burned to cinders after Arab intruders broke open a hole in the wall. The family had already left. A neighbor, Nadav Klinger, said the charred flat would be preserved as a museum.

Elsewhere in Lod, some veteran Jewish and Arab neighbors said their good relations remained intact and agreed that the influx of religious Jewish professionals had lifted the city up.

Ayelet-Chen Wadler, 44, a physicist who grew up in a West Bank settlement, came to Lod with her family 15 years ago to join the Torah Nucleus community.

“I was raised to try to make an impact,” she said. “Just by living here, you make a difference.”

A week after the peak in the violence, about 30 of the 40 Jewish families who had evacuated their homes in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood had returned.

“I believe we can get back to where we were before, but it might take some time,” said Mr. Rokach, the chairman of the Torah nucleus in Lod, condemning the revenge attacks by Jews from outside.

“Nobody’s leaving. Quite the opposite. As we speak, I just got a WhatsApp message from a family looking for a home here. Nor are the Arabs leaving.”

Myra Noveck contributed reporting from Jerusalem.

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